After stopping at the marina and the animal rehab center and a random trail and the golf course and then the cabins I finally found my way down to the boat dock that LC and I have visited a couple of times since arriving back in Tennessee.
I have found a calmness recently that I have not felt in a very long while.
That calmness is sporadic, often fleeting, but there none-the-less and as I looked out over the water at my favorite place at the park I was acutely aware of it.
I turned to regard the parking lot, looked at the five trucks and five boat trailers in the lot and for a moment wondered why my Mountain Boy and I were not on the water.
Truthfully I had not even thought that morning about heading onto the water because the few days previous to this had been filled with cold and rain and random snow showers.
A far cry from the calm and beautiful day I was now looking at.
We both missed an opportunity to be on the water on an exceptionally lovely day.
LC was doing what he wanted to do that day and so was I, so it was all good..............
One more time I climbed down an embankment and walked close to the water greatly enjoying the solitude.
There may have been five trucks and five boat trailers in the parking lot but there were no people in sight anywhere..............
Last night LC and I headed out on a cold evening to go see the Tullahoma Christmas Parade.
We found a spot along the main street and waited for an hour for the parade to begin.
I occupied myself while waiting for the parade by watching young children close to our spot who were keeping themselves occupied by challenging their parents and caregivers and playing with lighted toys that a rolling booth had provided for them.
Cute little things and whenever I watch beautiful and innocent young children in constant motion I am always reminded of something my laughing but cynical-humored oldest son said to me once when he was still just a teenager "all baby mammals are cute".
Baby mammals indeed.
Five minutes before the parade started a huge influx of hundreds of last minute parade goers stormed the curbs in all directions, stood in front of those who had been sitting in chairs for a long while and almost completely obscured the view of the street.
We could see very little, there were far too many people in close proximity for comfort, and we thankfully left just as the first truck appeared in our view.
Neither one of us needed to see a Christmas parade that badly............
Last night while waiting for the parade to begin my youngest son Chris called me from Manitoba.
After my tracking him down and then calling him out for not staying in touch, he called me the other day to give me his new cell phone number.
He is happy and healthy and doing well, and I laughed when he told me that he had walked to the top of a mountain behind the ski lodge so that he could get enough reception to call me.
My free spirit son sounds good, I smile inwardly whenever I think about him which is often, and he wants me to buy him long underwear for Christmas..............
The reason why this is my favorite section of the park...........
The store was closed for the season.
The owners of the trucks and trailers in the parking lot were out on the water on their boats.
Nobody was walking or driving or bike riding.
I was alone in this lovely place................
After leaving the boat dock I headed back in the general direction of my truck, unsure if I was done with my trip or if I would find reason to again veer off the major road through the park.
I decided to take the trip back as it came at me.
If something caught my eye I would pull off for a while.
Such was the nature of my trip and not long after leaving the dock I did indeed stop once again.
This structure is a mid-sized recreation center and is used to host such diverse and eclectic events as weekend fiddle jams (one of which I attended before heading for Alaska and it was surprisingly a lot of fun) and home base for organized trail runs.
Inside, the building has a lovely log cabin feel to it - a huge fireplace, open beams, multiple large windows to let in natural light, rock steps and walls, that sort of thing..........
Views of the grounds immediately outside the building..............
I did not spend a long time at the recreation hall but instead pulled off the road and headed down a paved trail that I know leads to a bridge that spans one of many coves that are part of Tims Ford Lake.
By this time I was seriously thinking about calling it a day so headed down the trail uncertain of how far I would travel, but fairly sure that I would not go far.
There were many parts of the park that I had not visited but the park would still be here on another day............
I traveled less than a mile before stopping, leaned my bike up against one more tree and walked down the steep and leaf covered trail to first the picnic tables and then further down to the water............
As I found my way down to the waters' edge the first thing I saw was this bobber.
It was hanging from a tree, and there are many bobbers in this area of trees and coves and fishing boats............
I have run across this bridge quite a few times over the years but did not make it that far the other day...........
Bare trees reflecting back from the lake...........
After regrouping with my bike I debated for a few moments where I wanted to head next.
Did I want to ride further - out to the bridge and beyond it? No.
Did I want to turn around and head back the way I had come? Maybe.
While taking a drink from the water bottle in my bike cage I looked around me and slowly regarded the dirt and rooty hill to my left.
Yeah - I knew that I could hit the trail and then hook up with a road that way, and would not have to retrace territory I had already passed by.............
About a year before heading for Juneau I organized a bike training event at Tims.
We used this picnic shelter as home base on an absolutely freezing cold Saturday in late January and I was incredibly surprised when people actually showed up for it.
The naturalist gave a presentation, LC made home made chili at home for the event and then kept it warm on a huge stone grill underneath the shelter as well as keeping a huge fire burning for the participants.
It was a great but very cold success, I received positive feedback from participants, the park was a wonderful host for the event, and I don't think I ever want to organize a bike event in late January ever again.........
I was getting tired and although I had not ridden a long way I had made enough side trips that it had been a long and pleasing day.
As I was heading back towards the Visitors Center and my truck I surprisingly made one last stop.
I looked up ahead of me and saw a small herd of deer on the opposite side of the road from the center.
I snapped a picture of them quickly before they disappeared and then slowly began to ride closer, stopping frequently to take pictures, always unsure of just how long they would stay in view............
The small herd were watchful and very wary and eventually, when I finally got too close for comfort, did head back into the woods.
And then I heard them.
I searched the sky looking for the source of the noise and first one, and then another, and then four of them appeared from behind the trees off in the distance.
Four helicoptors from the base.
They were far enough away that it took me a while to find them in my camera view finder, and after snapping a bunch of pictures and then downloading them I realized that only one of the pictures had actually turned out.
Regardless, happy to see them and happy that I could capture them in a picture before they disappeared............
A sign located at the intersection of a road that leads to the campground.
A trip for another day...............
When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day's sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay's call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else's heart...............Diane Ackerman